I don’t think of myself as particularly fit. I ride four days a week, mostly walk/trot. I don’t canter very often: partly because I’m not especially great at cantering, partly because I don’t have Fetti very fit for cantering. (These problems definitely play on each other.) Running comes and goes, depending on how frequently I’ve injured myself in some way, shape, or form: I am one of those people where something almost always hurts.
My two-point improves when I
– have a quiet but forward-thinking horse
– am generally feeling good
– have wide, shock-absorbing stirrups with running shoes
My two-point deteriorates when I
– have to use lots of leg (I tend to bring my heel up – pony problems)
– have a spooky horse – my core isn’t good enough to support me through sudden speed changes
– hold lots of tension
I have not seriously done two-point since I quit jumping lessons. I have not pushed my physical limits in several years, either. October started with my genuine belief that I’d max out around five minutes, maybe ten if I really worked on it towards the end of the month. But it would be good incentive for me to actually get on and ride around, and maybe I wouldn’t completely embarrass myself. Time myself periodically, see if the time improves if I’m actually doing it more than once or twice a year for thirty seconds at a time…
Two-point at a pokey western jog in circles in the arena: pathetic and boring. I quit before my legs gave out because neither of us could take it any longer. Two-point on the trail: totally acceptable. My final ride was the first time I felt myself really hit a wall.. and I hit that wall five minutes in and stubbornly refused to accept it for the next 35.
Naturally, that means that I’m sitting here with imposter syndrome, trying to convince myself that I really did do it right and I really do deserve all this.. because I sure didn’t set out to win anything, and it’s breaking my brain a little bit.
So – I will put this down in writing, to hopefully convince myself of it – I did, in fact, hit a wall on that ride. It was not all sparkles and flowers and rainbows. There was effort and misery involved, thus it’s not that I was Doing It Wrong. I just happen to be in a position where I’m riding for a lot longer than most.
Incidentally, that might explain why I had a tough time finding a catch-rider for Fetti when I tried to offer her to some friends for Fireworks 25 this year. I think trotting 25 miles / 6 hours is no big deal. They think it’s pretty intimidating and they’re not in shape for it, and these are folks who I think are better riders and in better arena-shape than I am.
Next challenge, after winter? Posting trot, no stirrups.
TLDR: How to train for 2Pointober: posting trot for 6 hours/25 miles on a pony.
[Saturday edit, additional thought!] I’ve alluded to it on the blog in the past, but I also do a fair bit of bareback riding in the summer. I did a lot last year, on a wonderfully solid-but-bouncy Haflinger, and less this year since he passed away 🙁 Perhaps a regular pattern of 4-10 mile bareback trail rides, largely at the trot, might also be helpful training for 2Pointober. That didn’t occur to me because it’s been so normal. I owe a lot to that pony.